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Top cop touts good news: Every major category of crime down this year

Mayor Rahm Emanuel  Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy | Sun-Times files

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy | Sun-Times files

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Updated: December 2, 2013 12:19PM



Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he will focus on the city’s continuing drop in overall crime when he addresses a City Council budget hearing Thursday.

McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have been fighting a national perception that Chicago is a dangerous place to live and visit ever since the city’s murder total spiked last year.

McCarthy said he plans to tell aldermen that every major category of crime — including murder — is down this year. He’ll also point out that overall crime has fallen consistently over decades. Through Oct. 29, this year’s robbery, burglary and motor vehicle theft totals, for example, were the lowest in the city since 1966.

“There is an unacceptable level of violence, but the progress we’re making is undeniable,” McCarthy said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

He said the latest crime statistics show that the police department is able to reduce crime without hiring more cops.

“We will work with what we are given,” said McCarthy, who became superintendent in early 2011 after Emanuel took office. “We’ve got enough police. We have more police officers per capita than any large city in the country.”

The totals for every major crime are down this year compared with 2012, according to police statistics. There were 348 murders through Oct. 20 compared with 424 over the same period last year — an 18 percent decrease. Of the other 2013 totals:

◆ Theft was the lowest since 1973, when the definition was changed to include every theft, not just those valued at more than $50.

◆ Criminal sexual assault was the lowest since 1983. Before then, the department used the FBI’s narrower definition of forcible rape.

◆ Aggravated assault and battery were the lowest since 1982.

◆ Arson was the lowest since 1981, when the department started reporting the crime to the FBI for national crime statistics.

Even though Chicago has seen crime fall over the decades, New York and Los Angeles have seen even bigger decreases.

And this year, New York and Los Angeles have recorded far fewer killings than Chicago, even though those cities are much bigger. Los Angeles also recorded fewer robberies and burglaries than Chicago, but New York’s totals are larger for those crimes.

Email: fmain@suntimes.com



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